Thursday marks this year's National Day of Prayer, a time when Americans pray for their country in solemn and joyful supplication on a nationwide scale.
The annual observance was established by an act of Congress in 1952 and regularly features tens of thousands of local events across the United States.
For generations, presidents of both parties have issued proclamations calling for a National Day of Prayer, releasing such proclamations throughout the year.
Here are 12 inspirational quotes from presidential proclamations made through the years in honor of the prayer-filled observance.
October 1955 Proclamation
"... all of those whom we have revered as leaders throughout our history have been wont to turn to Almighty God in thanks for His providence and in suppliance for His guidance; and ... it is fitting that we of this generation, who are the heirs of their handiwork, should emulate those inspired builders of our Nation and should turn our hearts and minds to things spiritual."
October 1962 Proclamation
"Let us pray for our Nation and for other nations of the world. Alay we especially ask God's blessing upon —
Our homes, that this integral unit of society may nurture our youth and give to them the needed faith in God, in our Nation, and in their future;
Our citizens, that they may increase in the desire to promote mercy and justice, peace and freedom, good will and brotherhood; that they may open new frontiers in helping to alleviate hunger, ignorance and disease;
Our Nation, that each new achievement may add to our heritage of faith;
And our world, that this generation may experience the fruits of peace and may know the real meaning of brotherhood under God."
September 1964 Proclamation
"I urge that each of us turn to God on that day
— acknowledging that our country continues, as it was founded, "with a firm reliance upon the protection of divine Providence";
— thanking Him for the blessings of mind and spirit which He has heaped upon us in a land of vast bounty;
— begging His forgiveness for our shortcomings;
— asking for the patience, the wisdom, the understanding, and the courage we need to carry on His work."
October 1972 Proclamation
"In all our concerns and all our affairs as a nation, both at home and abroad, prayer should be not merely an embellishment, but an essential: both the prayer of affirmation that our God is great and good, that He made us and not we ourselves, and the prayer of petition that He may guide and protect us every one."
March 1976 Proclamation
"In this Bicentennial year, we will often reflect on the events of 200 yens ago. As we recall the crises of those early days, let us also reflect on the profound faith in God which inspired the founding fathers."
"I call upon all Americans to pray that day, each in his or her own way, for the strength to meet the challenges of the future with the same courage and dedication Americans showed the world two centuries ago."
September 1980 Proclamation
"I further ask that all who so desire make this a Day of Fast as well. On that day, I ask Americans to join me in thanksgiving to God for His blessings and in earnest prayer to Him for His protection in the year ahead. Finally, may He grant freedom to all unjustly held captive, and may He grant us His vision of a world at peace."
January 1983 Proclamation
"From General Washington's struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our Nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future."
April 1991 Proclamation
"As we seek to chart a proper course in a world that is changing by the hour, our observance of a National Day of Prayer reminds us that we can always place our trust in the steady, unfailing light that is the love of God. Time and again, Scripture tells us of the constancy of the Almighty. Indeed, His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, wrote the Psalmist, and His dominion endures throughout all generations."
March 1995 Proclamation
"Our Nation was built on the steadfast foundation of the prayers of our ancestors. In times of blessing and crisis, stability and change, thanksgiving and repentance, appeals for Divine direction have helped the citizens of the United States to remain faithful to our long-standing commitment to life, liberty, and justice for all."
April 2002 Proclamation
"We offer thanks for the countless blessings God has provided. And we thank God for sanctifying every human life by creating each of us in His image."
"Especially since September 11, millions of Americans have been led to prayer. They have prayed for comfort in a time of grief, for understanding in a time of anger, and for protection in a time of uncertainty. We have all seen God's great faithfulness to our country. America's enemies sought to weaken and destroy us through acts of terror. None of us would ever wish on anyone what happened on September 11th. Yet tragedy and sorrow none of us would choose have brought forth wisdom, courage, and generosity. In the face of terrorist attacks, prayer provided Americans with hope and strength for the journey ahead."
May 2009 Proclamation
"Let us also use this day to come together in a moment of peace and goodwill. Our world grows smaller by the day, and our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife; and to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. As we observe this day of prayer, we remember the one law that binds all great religions together: the Golden Rule, and its call to love one another; to understand one another; and to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth."
May 2017 Proclamation
"We are united in prayer, each according to our own faith and tradition, and we believe that in America, people of all faiths, creeds, and religions must be free to exercise their natural right to worship according to their consciences.
We are also reminded and reaffirm that all human beings have the right, not only to pray and worship according to their consciences, but to practice their faith in their homes, schools, charities, and businesses—in private and in the public square—free from government coercion, discrimination, or persecution."